AltaVista postpones unmetered Internet access service's launch until January

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AltaVista U.K. said it has not launched the unmetered Internet access service it had announced with much fanfare in March. The company, a unit of CMGI, Andover, Mass., blamed British Telecom for the service's failure to take off, saying BT did not provide flat-rate telephone lines in time for the June launch. The unmetered service garnered huge publicity because British consumers usually pay by the minute for Internet access. AltaVista's product would have cost consumers $90 per year for Net access through a toll-free number, eliminating call charges. British press and consumer groups have been demanding explanations from AltaVista about the status of the service, which had attracted 270,000 consumers. The company had been telling customers that it was rolling the service out in a "controlled manner." AltaVista said the service now will not be available until January.

Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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